The Port of Itajai in southern Brazil is at the mouth of the Itajai River just six meters above sea level. Established in the mid-1800s by colonists from Italy and Germany, it is now a busy commercial center and port for the agricultural region of the river. The Port of Itajai exports manufactured goods (cotton textiles and wrapping paper) and a variety of agricultural crops including cassava, tobacco, sassafras, starch, vegetable oil, and lumber. Connected by road and air to the capital of the State of Santa Catarina, the Port of Itajai is about 700 kilometers southwest of Rio de Janeiro. In 2005, almost 160 thousand people called Itajai home.
Colonization of the area began in 1658 when Joao Dias D’Arzao arrived there. Portuguese colonists settled there in 1750, and it was a popular region for settlers from Portugal by 1823. At the end of the 19th Century, many German immigrants found their way to the Port of Itajai. The city was officially founded in 1860. The modern Port of Itajai is the state’s main port and the second biggest port in Brazil.
The City of Itajai preserves much of its mercantile history and structures. Palaces, churches, mansions, and monuments decorate many streets and squares around the city.